Summer 2020 projects will be announced Jan. 6, 2020

NOTE: Classes will operate if a minimum class size is reached. Our intent is to admit students into their highest-ranked course selection.  Historically, at least 75% of students receive their first choice.  Course popularity and class size constraints will determine final placement.  Select two projects when applying.

Racecar Design through Engineering Experimentation:  Full, not accepting students

Prof DelagrammatikasThe FormulaSAE Team, Mechanical Engineering

This hands-on laboratory course allows students to explore heat exchangers, pumps, internal combustion engines, a wind tunnel, refrigeration cycles, direct-current motors, and fundamental microcontroller use. Students will have the opportunity to explore design considerations, such as hardware/software selection or system level integration, to help connect theoretical foundations with application.  Students will be divided into teams of 3-4 students which rotate through a series of ten experiments that relate to the racecar.  They explore the fundamentals of mechanical measurement, report-writing, and graphical presentation of data.

A team-based research project will then be selected by the student teams which will require the students to design, build, and test systems for the Cooper Union Formula SAE racecar. These systems include, but are not limited to: 1) a wireless data acquisition system, 2) a new aerodynamic nosecone, 3) a lightweight crash structure, 4) frame testing system, 5) carbon-fiber suspension members, 6) an improved cooling system, and a 7) turbocharged, single-cylinder engine test stand.

Storm Surge Protection Systems for New York City, Full, not accepting students

Prof. Joseph Cataldo and Prof. Vito Guido, Civil Engineering

Civil engineering is made up of many diverse fields. Among these are the design and construction of buildings, towers, bridges, airports, tunnels, sustainable structures such as green roofs, streets, walls and rain gardens.  New York City includes all these structures along with the challenges of being a coastal city. The students will work on civil engineering engineering problems critical for New York City’s skyscrapers and storm surge protection. Whether mixing and testing concrete cylinders and beams to failure, running fluid waves in the hydrodynamics laboratory or completing experiments to study the coastal propagation of surge waves and shore line forces due to the breaking of these waves, students will be learning tools for modeling (both mathematical and physical), drawing for engineering, experimenting and presenting work.  With the guidance of Cooper Union professors, students will work to make New York City a safer, healthier and more livable space. Civil Engineers are the closest profession to architects. We think of architects involved in the aesthetic design of buildings and homes, and Civil Engineers in the structural design. Both architects and Civil Engineers develop, plan, and design landscapes.

Computational Design and Innovation: The Makerspace; Full, not accepting students

Austin Wong and Michael Giglia (2 sections)

Engineers are natural problem-solvers who tackle problems on a global scale.  We address these issues responsibly as we explore civic engagement through our creativity. The six weeks in The Makerspace section will gear up students to learn and expand their skills in ideation, design, prototyping, testing, refining, and documentation.

In this section, students will learn how to design and innovate through a broad exposure to the various departments in the Albert Nerken School of Engineering. Students are tasked to envision a product which can solve the problems of potential users in mind, research the various ways the world has addressed these problems in the past, develop alternative solutions to the problems, and then start prototyping solutions.

Students will have access to rapid prototyping machines (laser-cutter, 3D printers, shop tools, etc) to develop a series of solutions to the problems that they find most important in the world. Computer aided engineering tools (such as CAD software, microcontrollers, computer programming languages, and computer science) will be taught throughout the project. Past projects have varied from purely hardware, to smart devices using the Arduino. Topics will also include presentation skills, patent searches, entrepreneurship, innovation, and launch page design.

Computer Science and Entrepreneurship for Social Good, Full, not accepting students

Jeremiah Pratt

By identifying relevant global issues that align with one or more of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), student teams will design, develop, and deliver a web application. Students will choose SGDs that represent their interests and passions and will develop a site that helps grow these goals. The students will learn industry level computer science skills such as React, Firebase, and responsive design; this is alongside a strong emphasis on soft skills like team management and agile development. While crash-coursing the computer science skills they will need to produce solutions, students will work closely with their instructors in short sprints, producing incremental deliverables every other day. At the conclusion of the program, they will produce a minimal viable product that will be accessible from the web. Students will learn a holistic set of skills beyond just coding that is needed to make a successful web app. No prior coding experience necessary, only an open mind and a desire to change the world.

Engineering for Music: The Pitch Theremin

Prof. Neveen Shlaylan, Electrical Engineering

In this course, students will explore the procedure to design and construct a Theremin. A Theremin is a musical instrument that has two antennas which controls pitch and volume depending on the distance to the performer’s hands without making any physical contact. This instrument was patented in 1928 by Soviet inventor Léon Theremin. The Theremin detects a changing capacitance dependent on the location of the player’s hands relative to the antenna, and adjusts the frequency of an oscillator accordingly. Students will be exposed to fundamentals of analog circuitry, various hardware components, and learn about how to use various lab equipment, such as oscilloscopes, to debug circuits. The final presentation will include a musical performance.

Developing Alternative Fuels to Help Solve the Global Energy Crisis

Prof Daniel Lepek and Prof Jennifer Weiser, Chemical Engineering


This summer research opportunity will provide an introduction to the field of chemical engineering and how it impacts the world-wide issues of renewable and sustainable energy.  By learning about the basic concepts of chemical engineering through lectures and hands-on laboratory activities, students will be able to apply their knowledge to create their own biofuels from materials commonly found throughout New York City.  Furthermore, this research opportunity will enrich the students’ fundamental understanding of science, math, and computational skills.Students will become knowledgeable and informed of important economic and environmental issues related to energy, climate change, and other engineering challenges.

Biotech for Good: Isolating plastic eating microbes for bioremediation of waste

Dr. Radmila Janjusevic and Prof. Oliver Medvedik, Biomedical Engineering

Non-biodegradable plastic waste on land and in the oceans poses a huge threat to global ecosystems. Working in teams of four, students will tasked to devise methods by which microbes can be identified and isolated from environments that have a high likelihood of having selected for species of bacteria that can break down artificial plastics, such as polyethylene. These environments may include the guts of particular insects, such as waxworm larvae, as well as soil dwelling microbes. We will use the equipment and resources at the Kanbar Center for Biomedical Engineering (PCR machines, bacterial incubators, gel electrophoresis, centrifuges, etc.) to then cultivate each microbe and prepare DNA for sequence analysis. Students will then, with the help of mentors, develop experimental protocols that will help identify which microbes are capable of breaking down artificial plastics. Student teams will also focus on incorporating their discoveries within the framework of a biotech startup, ie, after identifying promising microbes, what would be the next steps to optimize the genetic pathways using the tools of synthetic biology.

Green Technology and Sustainable Energy

Prof. Robert Dell

Students will explore and develop novel technologies for underutilized energy sources. Students learn through hands on activities both methods and theories for harvesting green energy while becoming familiar with basic heat transfer, thermodynamics, energy measurement, data collection, and infrared thermal imaging. 3-D computer modeling skills including Solidworks will be taught and used in addition to traditional mathematical analysis methods to help design the final projects. For the final project, students apply the engineering design process and collaborate with a team to create a prototype for green technology. Potential green energy sources investigated may include wind, human power, waste heat, solar, cascade utilizations, thermoelectrics, and organic energy.


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  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.